Press Release

The Fifth Floor: Ideas Taking Space

Tate Liverpool is proud to present a groundbreaking exhibition inspired by ideas and proposals from people across the city. The Fifth Floor: Ideas Taking Space presents major new works and commissions by fourteen internationally-renowned artists and artists’ groups that respond to ideas that have evolved out of discussions with the people of Merseyside. Throughout Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, Tate Liverpool has facilitated discussions about the cultural life of the city and the potential of the gallery as a space of imagination. These conversations have become the basis for the exhibition. The Fifth Floor refers to a floor that does not physically exist within Tate Liverpool’s four-storey building, but invites the visitor to reconsider the Gallery as a place of invention, encounter and collaboration.

For The Fifth Floor Polish artist Pawel Althamer responds to the city’s passion for football. Football supporters of Polish club Legia Warsaw are currently working with Althamer to produce a sculpture for the exhibition. In the coming weeks they will come to Tate Liverpool to meet with Liverpool FC supporters to work in tandem on the installation for the gallery.

French artist Olivier Bardin invites visitors to be part of a performance installation that reveals how the image we have of ourselves is informed by our own perception, and how we are perceived by others. The starting point for Bardin’s work is the audience itself. He likens his work to a mirror which sets up a ‘confrontation’ in which the individual is both the observer and the observed.

Rineke Dijkstra’s (The Netherlands) long-standing passion for Liverpool has inspired a number of projects for the exhibition, and she will set up a fully-functioning photographic studio within the gallery space. The projects include a series of photographic and video works with Liverpool high school pupils, and a new film created in Liverpool nightclubs. Moving her studio into the gallery enables Dijkstra to present changing displays of ‘works in progress’, whilst revealing the process of her artistic practice.

Liverpool artist Nina Edge is renowned for projects that involve participation from local communities. She frequently debates the impact of public authorities on private lives and seeks to engage ‘publics’ in discussions around regeneration, personal freedom and ‘the common good’.For The Fifth Floor she has devised a board game entitled 5D Everything. Played on five layers, and based on solitaire, it combines elements of chance and preference.

Swedish artist collective International Festival is creating a flexible, modular ‘film-set’ installation that can be reconfigured to host a myriad of performances and events. A series of activities – from gatherings of hobby groups to live performances of stand-up comedy – will run throughout the exhibition. The installation enables the galleries to be used in radical new ways, providing the building blocks for the construction of a social space at the heart of the exhibition. Taking place within this space will be a programme of collaborative community-led events, developed by Jessie Blindell and Ailie Rutherford (UK) which explore different processes of social exchange and engagement.

Peter Liversidge (UK) presents hand-typed proposals for ‘artworks’. Their poeticism and intent range from the sublime to the ridiculous. His 120 suggestions include freezing the Mersey and inviting a choir to perform Jingle Bells on 16 December 2008, to mark the 151st anniversary of the song. Many of his proposals will be realised, inviting the audience to view Liverpool as a space where ideas can be realised outside of normal parameters.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico/Canada) will present a major work entitled Subtitled Public, 2005. Visitors will be tracked by an infrared surveillance system which projects text onto their bodies. The only way to ‘lose’ the subtitle is to transfer it to another person by touching them. Encouraged to communicate through physical interaction, the work comments on the increasing deployment of surveillance systems in public spaces.

Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi’s cartoon-like drawings, disarmingly immediate and politically resonant, have appeared in a range of formats, from his notebooks, to newspapers and galleries around the world. For Tate Liverpool, Perjovschi will draw directly onto gallery walls and stairwells before and during the exhibition, working with and alongside Liverpool schoolchildren. For the first time he will invite the public to draw their own cartoons alongside his own.

Liverpool artist Paul Rooney is creating a new film featuring the city’s aspiring stand-up comics, including members of MUCK (Merseyside Uncut Comedy Kollective). Shot in Liverpool’s derelict cinema, The Futurist, Rooney’s work deploys fantasy, historical detail, and multiple narrative threads to examine how identity can be constructed or invented. Rooney’s work, often imbued with melancholy, reveals how our memory can become flawed when recollected in the present.

For The Fifth Floor Tino Sehgal (Germany) will present This is Exchange, a work that considers the meaning of exchange and the value of cultural knowledge, themes particularly resonant in the current economic climate. On entering the gallery each visitor will be greeted by a person in the space (all of whom are local people from a variety of backgrounds) dressed as a Tate Liverpool Information Assistant and offered a small payment on the condition that they engage in a discussion on the economy.

tenantspin is a Liverpool-based community TV channel, established by the Danish artists’ group Superflex in 1999. For The Fifth Floor, tenantspin will set up a TV studio within the gallery where stories, opinions, and views will be collected from visitors, and where discussions, readings and performances will be streamed online. tenantspin are also providing training to individuals and  groups across Liverpool, and the studio will act as a hub for a programme of events.

Xijing Men is an artists’ group comprising of three members from China, Japan and South Korea. Inspired by the oral histories of their respective countries, they have produced drawings that have been used by a Liverpool theatre group to create storyboards for a puppet theatre. Xijing Men will then work with the group to produce puppets and props for puppet theatre performances at Tate Liverpool. The project will reveal how folklore can be shared and mediated between different cultures.

The Fifth Floor will be further animated through an evolving programme of events and performances featuring visual artists, musicians, performers and groups from across the city, as well as various forms of community activity.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive publication, edited by Peter Gorschlüter (Head of Exhibitions, Tate Liverpool) and published by Liverpool University Press, featuring contributions by participating artists as well as interviews and essays by Lars Bang Larsen, Claire Bishop and Nicolas Bourriaud among others.